Suicide Attacks in Islam Blasted? Finally!

RIYADH – A top Saudi cleric has slammed suicide attacks by Islamist martyrdom-seekers as devilish acts that do not qualify as jihad, a Saudi newspaper reported on Friday. “He (a suicide bomber) claims to be a mujahed (holy warrier) in the name of Allah, but he is not. He is fighting in the name of the devil who has tempted him and convinced him” to carry out the attack, said Sheikh Saleh al-Fawzan. “A Muslim is prohibited from killing himself,” the member of the Saudi supreme council of Islamic scholars said in a lecture in Riyadh, according to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

He said acts of violence branded as jihad, or Muslim holy war, were nothing more than “sabotage.” “This is not jihad. This is sabotage and unrightful killing,” the cleric said, adding that jihad in Islam should only be declared by the leader of the Muslim community. “Jihad has rules and regulations. It should be called for by the leader of the Muslims,” he said. 

Martyrs in the Islamic faith are promised generous rewards in paradise. Fawzan also condemned the New Year’s Day bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt that killed 21 churchgoers, slamming it as an act of “treachery.” The newspaper termed his condemnation of suicide attacks as unprecedented in a country which was home to 15 out of the 19 hijackers of the passenger planes used in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States (Leader Post, Jan 7, 2011, Regina, SK, Canada)

Well about damn time I read a story from a Muslim cleric condemning these unrighteous acts of suicide bombing. Innocent people are being killed in the name of God (Allah) – if that ain’t blasphemy I am not sure what is.

But here we see a movement towards modernism of the ideas of ‘jihad’. Jihad is about the struggle and the fight, mostly internal and sometimes external, but suicide does not factor into such an idea. I would compare jihad to the idea of Christians ‘iron sharpens iron’ .

These more modern notions of terrorism (or war as some call it) are horrible in nature, but what is even worse is the hatred for anything ‘different’ than you – a lack of tolerance. What the cleric seems to be doing is trying to bridge the gap between the West and the East and move towards ideals of brotherly compatriotism versus wiping someone out because they are not you.

Modern ideal at work here – tolerance for people different than you…I am guessing each religion can find in their faith where tolerance towards other faiths is applauded.

O people of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah.” (Sura 3:64)


8 thoughts on “Suicide Attacks in Islam Blasted? Finally!

  1. It’s a little old now, but in March last year the CBC ran an article about an Islamic scholar that published a 600-page fatwa against terrorism and suicide bombing. If you’re really into this kind of reading, that is.

    [it looks like the page is still up]

  2. Here is another apt demonstration of the paranoid mindset and hatred of unbelievers — especially Jews — which jihadists can capitalize on in their recruits. But how do you get someone like Farhad who may never have seen a map change his radical worldview?..To answer Baers rhetorical question it certainly is quite impossible if one is unwilling to address Islamic teachings about armed jihad and unbelievers head-on..

  3. “Baers rhetorical question it certainly is quite impossible if one is unwilling to address Islamic teachings about armed jihad and unbelievers head-on..” (Monex)

    I agree with this sentence. Change cannot occur unless these questions of use of violence in armed jihad cannot be looked at with some criticism and analytical thought (seeing all avenues on the topic). I also think more Imams need to embrace this conversation and teach younger people about the proper aspects of the idea of ‘jihad’. It’s a conversation that is left out of the larger media because the media in the West has labelled the term ‘dangerous’. And terrorism has helped this become a black n white issue unfortunately.

    As for the comment on the Jews concerning ‘fear’, well, ever live in Israel?

  4. You saying ‘Finally!’ makes me laugh. I think that Americans, in particular, and Europeans, in general, live in a cocoon of some sort whereby everything is analyzed and ‘generalized’ on the basis their narrow, judeo-christian, atheist, egocentric, and ethnocentric view. In other words, there is a tendency, from a lot (not all) of the people from the aforementioned groups to see no further than the tip of their nose and to generalize from it! If only you would put more effort in learning about other cultures and religions BEFORE you open your mouths that would certainly make you appear less foolish in the eyes of the rest of the world!

    The fact is that there HAVE been tons upon tons of Islamic scholars to condemn the abuse of jihad even prior to the existence of the concept of ‘terrorism’. Scholars such as: Imam Malik, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafi’i, Ibn Hazm, Ibn Taymiyah, Al-Albaani, Bin Baaz, Saleh al Uthaymeen, Saleh al Fawzan, Falah Ismaeel, Saleem at-Tawweel, all have in some way touched on the topic of bring unjustified harm to animals, humans, and plants. Terrorism is a very recent concept compared to the long history in Islam of forbidding evil of all sorts. Muslims who commit terrorism justify this through a distortion of the concept of jihaad. They are scolded by the Scholars of Islam and will always be, and so will those who kill innocent people under the banner of bringing them ‘peace’ and ‘freedom.’

    Just my 2 cents.

  5. Good points Ahmed! Truth is we are quite media blinded concerning issues like this and the the fact Muslims do criticize these attacks…media makes it seem like it doesn’t happen very often. Maybe its happening much more than the West really knows.

    “Muslims who commit terrorism justify this through a distortion of the concept of jihaad.” (Ahmed)

    That’s the loaded question, interpretation of what jihaad actually does mean and how it looks in the 21st century.

    For example, terrorists paint attacks on the West as trying to stop them from taking their lands (which actually makes some sense). However, the death of innocents to suicide attacks seems a tad on the irreligious side. So, the way it is worded is made to sound like something ‘worth fighting for’. Which begs the question, is what the terrorists worth fighting for and are they fighting it correctly?

    Cause ‘jihaad’ is alright in some cases it seems, like in Egypt and Libya…where the protesters want their ‘freedom’…this is not frowned upon by the world media but rather ‘applauded’.

    And this is where ‘jihaad’ as an idea, namely for defense and war, gets somewhat confusing.

  6. The concept of JiHaaD is not rocket science; it’s a very simple concept. The term itself comes from the arabic root JaHaDa, meaning ‘to exert considerable effort in performing something, to strive.’ Jihaad in the religious context, is nothing more than to strive to uphold good by fighting evil. The greatest and hardest jihaad is the jihaad of the soul (jihaadu-nafs). Everytime you fight off your desires to do something wrong you are participating in jihaad of the soul. For instance, you’re married but you have this real hot girl throwing herself at you; it takes a lot of self-control to fight off the urge to cheat with that very attractive person. That’s jihaad. Or the fact of remaining cool and quiet when someone insults you, that’s jihaad. Or, the fact of staying humble when you’re a high achiever and everyone around you gases up your head with accolades, that’s jihaad. Or, being a faithful Muslim in this day and time when everyone perceives us to be evil and terrorists, is jihaad. Self-control, humility, and steadfastness all require effort.

    Now, jihaad goes beyond that however. If an armed thief breaks into your house, thereby putting your wife and children in danger, the fact of you doing all that you can to protect your family is jihaad. You might have to kill that thief to protect your family. That’s a noble undertaking, the fact of protecting your family at all cost. If we extend that concept of a home to that of a homeland, then the same principle applies. Defense of the homeland is jihaad. Being courageous requires effort.

    Under no circumstance is harming innocent humans, animals, or even plants, jihaad. Under no circumstance is attacking a foreign country by blowing its buildings in retaliation of them being on your national soil, jihaad. So, there is a clear separation between transgression and obedience or upholding that which is good. There is very little room for misinterpretation. What you do have is distortion of the concept of jihaad. What is distortion? It is the fact of partially covering the truth so as to achieve one’s own objective. Our texts have their context; the Qur’an and hadeeth have their respective exegeses which clearly explain the circumstances under which certain statements were made and whether they can be applied to our modern day events.

    It’s clear. Nothing is hidden. The real issues are that the media doesn’t educate the masses on Islam, Muslims, Arabs and their culture, and the masses themselves are complacent with the disinfo that they are given by not seeking out the truth.

  7. I appreciate the info Ahmed, I like the term being explained by an adherent to Islam as opposed to some other faith – where they might get the terminilogy all wrong.

    Bigger question, why is the Islamic stance on violence allowed? Why isn’t the standard ‘non-violence’?

    Reason I ask is because having a stance that allows ‘some’ violence will actually open the door to much ‘more’ violence. Its the old adage if you leave the door open a crack, it’s still considered ‘open’ – whether open a crack or all the way. Misinterpretation of the standard of violence is common when a faith allows a ‘crack’ of it.

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